The Queensland Government has announced that it will run a pilot to make COVID-19 testing available via community pharmacies.
COVID testing in pharmacies will compromise the health of pharmacy staff and the community. Test labs have hard surfaces, minimal furniture, trained staff often dedicated to COVID tests, extensive PPE training and equipment as well as storage and disposal. Community pharmacies have none of these features. They are full of people getting scripts filled – some of whom have immune issues. The idea is that the pharmacists stops their busy script work, leaves the drug area and goes to some other place, puts on PPE, conducts the test, stores the test, takes off the PPE, washes hands and goes back to filling scripts until the next COVID test person turns up – this is simply not realistic and reflects a significant lack of understanding of how community pharmacies actually operate.
We must ensure we protect the safety of our members and the community. Health workers are the most vulnerable to workplace COVID contraction. Health unions have a responsibility to take strong action. If we don’t do our job and we get this wrong, people will die.
As the Government isn’t listening and as the stakes are so high, PPA's position is clear. PPA will impose an immediate statewide on trial testing in community pharmacy within Queensland. We will review this ban based on the safety of our members. If the Government and the Guild ignore our ban and push ahead with the trial, we will take action to shut down any pharmacy that is operating unsafely.
Contact: Adam Kerslake